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53PRO SCORE
GIVE IT AN OVERALL RATING
2.65822784810127 8 5 0
2.65822784810127
79 VOTES

Xbox LIVE is an online gaming service and digital media distribution network by Microsoft.

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Pros

detailed player statistics can be viewed on Xbox.com

5 agree

can queue up downloads on the web

5 agree

video and voice chat

4 agree

significant improvement since the release of the "New Xbox Experience" interface

4 agree

high level of integration with Xbox 360

4 agree

standardized system and interface across ALL games

4 agree

choice of free or paid membership

3 agree

can send messages to people on the web

3 agree

party system makes meeting up with friends very easy

3 agree

Windows Live messenger integration

2 agree

TrueSkill ranking/matchmaking system can accurately match you with a player at the same skill level

2 agree

Allows access to better game titles to be played online then competitors

1 agrees

Slightly more difficult then other game networks due to its large popularity.

1 agrees

Very soon, facebook twitter, last.fm access

1 agrees
  • Only 3 words are allowed.
Cons

Microsoft points (Xbox LIVE currency) must be purchased in blocks - users might have to spend more money upfront in order to purchase the item wanted

6 agree

some content requires a Gold membership

6 agree

expensive compared to alternatives (which are all free)

5 agree

no short term Gold membership options for the less hardcore - it would be nice to join for a weekend every now and then

4 agree

you can't move your gamertag to another country - MS says not possible

4 agree

If someone is playing on your console with you on Live, they are forced to use the "Guest" account, or pay for live.

3 agree

100 friends limit

2 agree

lots of immaturity

2 agree

messages have 240 character limit

1 agrees

the rep system is set up so that it is almost impossible to have a low rep

1 agrees

can't download Xbox 360 games, only Xbox originals

1 agrees

bug in the party system causes you to randomly be disconnected from the party, forcing you to rejoin, often in the middle of a game

1 agrees

no/minor compression scheme is really used in the downloads, so even Halo 1 is a 2.5GB download.

1 agrees
  • Only 3 words are allowed.
Edit

 

 Xbox LIVE is an online gaming service and digital media distribution network by Microsoft. It was first introduced in 2002 with the original Xbox system that required a separate disc purchase, and has since become an integral part of the Xbox360 experience. With the Xbox 360 Microsoft has seamlessly integrated the connected nature of LIVE into all aspects of the console's interface allowing you to interact with your friends while playing games, or watching movies. In the fall of 2008 Microsoft released their "New Xbox Experience" interface that upgraded the Xbox 360's operating system and expanded the LIVE features to include Mii-like "Avatars". One of the big changes to LIVE introduced was the party system that lets up to 8 people join up together no matter what they're doing and be able to voice chat and engage in different activities together. There are two membership levels of LIVE: Silver, the free level, and Gold, which costs $50/year.

Membership Levels

Xbox Live Silver - this is the free level of LIVE that anybody with an Internet connected 360 can sign up for. This level gives you access to almost all of LIVE's features except for online multiplayer, and occassionally delayed access to new demos.

Xbox Live Gold - the only paid membership level in LIVE. This gives you access to all features of LIVE including the online multiplayer and earlier access to some new demos. There are a variety of payment schemes available to provide more flexibility in how long you want to subscribe for the service. However, the full year membership is by far the best value/month which can be frustrating for people that don't use their membership all the time.

Gamertag - No matter which level of service you subscribe to, you'll have a unique gamertag identity that stays with you across games, and even across consoles. All information is associated with your gamertag, including your reputation and skill rankings. If you switch between Gold and Silver membership levels you maintain the same gamertag. You can change what your gamertag is (but not the information associated with it) by paying Microsoft $10.

Digital Distribution

A significant portion of Xbox LIVE's revenue comes from it's digital distribution services known as Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Unfortunately, Microsoft has opted to use their own proprietary system called "Microsoft Points" which obfuscate the true dollar value of the items sold.

Themes and gamer pictures - Xbox 360 dashboard themes can be purchased from the marketplace to bling out your console.

Xbox LIVE Arcade - these are smaller games that range in price from $5-$15 and offer upgraded retro titles or brand new titles that are smaller in scope that traditional retail discs. Every XBLA game has a demo so you can try before you buy. Many people compare the service to the shareware days of the late 1990s.

Xbox Originals - original Xbox games that can be purchased and played on your Xbox 360. No upgrades/improvements have been made to these games.

XNA Community Games - a service introduced in fall 2008, the community games lets anybody make a game and sell it to the Xbox Live audience. This is Microsoft's way of opening up the platform and giving independent developers a better chance to get noticed and make money.

Video Marketplace - an area to download movies and television shows. The selection in the United States rivals that of many top tier video distribution services, however the selection in other countries is vastly inferior. Many titles have both standard definition and High-Definition feeds available.

Post Review
Dialupinternetuser
02/21/2009 08:38

They really need to fix the bug that causes you to randomly drop out of your party. If you're using party chat to strategize while playing a game together, and you lose it, the other team has a major disadvantage. Aside from that, it's still just really annoying to have to rejoin/invite everyone back.

Omar
12/28/2008 09:28

I've had Xbox Live since it first launched many moons ago. In fact it was the driving force behind me getting my first credit card! What really made Xbox Live stand out in the early days was the sheer variety of games that supported online play. Crazy games like Phantom Dust and Street Fighter 3rd Strike really defined the service and made it stand out from the PC space, let alone the other consoles that had no online play at all.

In recent times Xbox LIVE has established itself as the Gold standard for console online play. It's amazing how Microsoft has stayed ahead of the curve after all of these years, and the pitiful competing offerings only confirm the price that Microsoft charges. I would love to see Sony and Nintendo release better offerings and force MS to lower their prices, but thus far there's been no pressure. At least on the console side, Steam is doing a lot of very cool things and in the not-so-distant future I can see Steam being a real competitor to not only Xbox Live but console gaming in general. But that's another topic.

I really just love how seamless everything is. I turn on my 360 and right away I feel connected. I think they can do a better job though as right now it requires that you have an active friends list to be REALLY connected while not playing a game. I hope they take some cues out of Sony's playbook and give a more universal connected feeling by letting you see and interact with the Xbox Live community at large right from your dashboard.

Despite my issues and suggestions, the other great thing about XBL is that it has been constantly improving and evolving over time, so I'm confident that they will be implemented in the near to medium future.

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